Cherry harvest

Statewide cherry production up 31 percent 

Washington sweet cherry farmers reported a good crop this year thanks to a moderate spring with warm temperatures. The state’s sweet cherry production is forecast at 255,000 tons of sweet cherries this year, compared to 195,000 tons last year, or a 31 percent increase, according to recent data released by National Agricultural Statistics Service. In…

Dev Patel and Jackie Cross stand in front of crops at Prosser Farm. The farm supplies more than a dozen Seattle-area Tom Douglas Restaurants with about 10 percent of its produce annually. Tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, melons and a plethora of herbs are grown on five acres.

Prosser Farm supplies fresh produce to Seattle-area foodies

Five-acre farm produced 65,000 pounds last year for Tom Douglas Restaurants   Jackie Cross had no intention of owning a farm in Prosser as she and her husband Tom Douglas spend most of their days on the west side of the state. As the owners of more than a dozen Seattle-area restaurants, including Lola, Cuoco and…

Farmers should make time for mid-year estate tax planning

By Paul G. Neiffer Farm couples can be worth about $11 million and not owe any federal estate tax. However, farmers in Washington state are subject to a state estate tax which starts at a little more than $2 million of net worth and the tax rate reaches 20 percent at $9 million (the highest…

Marijuana enthusiasts have kept Steve Lee’s Green2Go retail store in unincorporated Kennewick busy. Lee said he foresees continued steady growth as the state’s pot industry matures. Retail sales of marijuana in Benton County were up by 75 percent in the 2016 fiscal year compared to the previous year, from about $2.8 million to more than $4.9 million. (Courtesy Michael Schroeder of

Marijuana sales budding in Benton County, statewide

By Michelle Dupler Benton County and Washington state marijuana retail sales bloomed in fiscal year 2016, and the high appears to have continued into 2017, according to data from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. [blockquote quote=”We’re your grandma’s cannabis store.” source=”Steve Lee, owner of Green2Go” align=”right” max_width=”300px”] Retail sales in Benton County were…

Tri-Cities offers plenty of options to savor farm-to-table fare

By Marilou Shea This column is exclusively about one of our universally favorite things: food. It contributes to our economy in all kinds of ways, from agriculture, processing and manufacturers, to talented entrepreneurs, cultural heritage, restaurants, food trucks, farmers markets and farm-to-table efforts. Farm-to-table is a cool concept but it needs clarification. Simply put, it’s…

Trump’s budget proposal could negatively affect state ag budget

It’s too early to tell how the Trump administration will affect agriculture in Eastern Washington. But if the president’s budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Agriculture survives intact, it could chop a serious chunk out of the Washington Department of Agriculture’s budget. That’s what Derek Sandison, director of the state agriculture department, said in an…

Juan Fernandez of Middleton Six Sons Farms uses a foot-controlled cart to pick asparagus in Burbank. The farm piloted using The Mantis cart last year and this year bought 15 to assist its workers.

Farmer buys motorized carts to help harvest labor-intensive crop

Middleton Six Sons Farms bought 15 carts for its workers The asparagus served at several Tri-City restaurants likely features spears picked by experts at Middleton Six Sons Farms who have worked in the fields for more than three decades. It’s a lot of work to get the springtime favorite from field to plate. That’s why…

Family farm LLC offers best choice for business succession

By Beau Ruff As the center of Washington’s agricultural empire, it is important to recognize the planning opportunities afforded the Washington farmer in the Tri-Cities. This column explores the use of the family farm LLC for business succession planning. The quintessential farmer is land rich and cash poor. And, the farmer recognizes the value of…

H-2A guest worker program helps state address agriculture labor shortage

By Aaron Sparks In a tight agricultural labor market, many Washington state farmers and fruit growers struggle to find workers during harvest season. In Washington, of course, much of the discussion revolves around apples, the state’s top crop, which, at $2.4 billion, accounts for nearly 25 percent of the state’s agricultural production value.  Washington leads…

The Washington State Department of Agriculture recently dedicated a new 4,800-square-foot greenhouse at Washington State University’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser. It replaces a smaller, traditional WSU-owned greenhouse that had minimal temperature control and was used by WSDA staff for decades. (Courtesy WSDA)

New Prosser greenhouse allows scientists to better protect fruit trees

$750,000 facility took two years to build, replaces smaller greenhouse A new $750,000 greenhouse to support the state’s tree fruit industry recently opened in Prosser. Construction of the greenhouse and installation of specialized equipment took more than two years to complete. Money to pay for the greenhouse came through assessments on nurseries that sell Washington-grown…

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